Strawberry Vanilla Cake

Ok, everyone’s favorite part, the backstory of today’s recipe that no one asked for lol. 

We went out for Zara’s birthday to Olive Garden and they gave us a free birthday dessert and since it’s strawberry season, we picked the delicious looking Strawberry Cream Cake. It has two layers of vanilla sponge cake sandwiched around a thicker vanilla buttercream. Topped with more buttercream and vibrant fresh strawberry sauce. 

Although I’m not a fan of pre-made/frozen desserts, I thought it was a really delicious cake. My picky husband on the other hand says “you could do better”… So I did lol. 

The white cake layer

I wanted this cake to be lighter, whiter and fluffier than my classic vanilla cake recipe (which can be baked in a 9×13″ pan as well) so it’s a very similar recipe but with a few tweaks, it’s the perfect cake for summer. 

I dropped the egg yolks and went for all egg whites to make it extra fluffy and light.

Ingredients:

  • Flour: I actually use cake flour in this recipe instead of all-purpose flour unlike all my other cakes. The difference generally isn’t HUGE between the two but it is slightly lighter and more tender with cake flour.
    • I also HIGHLY recommend using a digital scale, as flour is so often over measured. 
  • Fat: I use butter and oil in almost all my cake recipes because I like the flavor from the butter and I like the texture produced by the combination of both fats. I find that oil alone is sometimes too spongy and not quite as pleasant in a plain vanilla cake. Whereas using all butter usually results in a cake that’s a bit more stiff.
    • For this cake, I decreased the oil and increased the butter for more flavor since there are no egg yolks. 
  • Egg whites: you simply can’t argue against the flavor and richness that egg yolks bring to the table. However, I used egg whites because I wanted the cake to be super light and fluffy with a whiter color. 
  • Sugar: I used granulated sugar and I don’t recommend cutting any out. 
  • Liquid: Because I took out the egg yolks from this cake, I replaced the milk with heavy cream. I know it sounds weird but hear me out – it’s rich, high in fat and more flavorful than milk which is exactly the properties that egg yolks provide without the yellow color. 

The cream cheese vanilla frosting

I love a good cream cheese frosting – in fact, I’d argue it’s the best tasting frosting. However, it can be difficult to get a good consistency for layer cakes so whenever I make a sheet cake, I’m definitely going to use that opportunity to make cream cheese frosting.

I do half butter and half cream cheese, so 8oz of each and about 4 cups (480 grams) of powdered sugar. Add some good ol’ vanilla beans or vanilla extract to make it vanilla flavor.

Depending on the temperature, cream cheese can be very finicky and splits pretty easily. If you’re having trouble with that, try not to over whip it. I beat the butter first, then cream the butter and cream cheese together just until they’re combined and then add the powdered sugar and beat just until it’s smooth and creamy. 

The strawberry topping

The strawberry topping is the easiest thing to make. First, you’ll wash, hull and dice your strawberries. I like to cut them about the size of a blueberry.

Now, just toss them with some granulated sugar and let them macerate. Make sure to stir every so often so the sugar fully dissolves. 

Pro tip: grab dark juicy strawberries for a stronger flavor.

How to turn this into a layer cake

I’ve also made this cake as a layer cake several times. The batter can be baked in three 6-inch cakes or two 8-inch cakes. Bake them for about 35ish minutes, until you press on them and they spring back.

For the strawberries, there’s no need to toss them with sugar to make a syrup, I just dice them and use them as the cake filling on top of the cream cheese frosting.

Make sure your cream cheese frosting is firm enough to pipe; refrigerate it for a while if needed. Frost the cake with a layer of frosting and then pipe a border of the frosting around the edge and fill it in with the strawberry chunks. I like to freeze the cake for 15 minutes between stacking layers just to make sure the cream cheese frosting doesn’t get too soft.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I just use fresh strawberries?

I took the extra step in macerating the strawberries because I loved that Olive Garden’s Strawberry Cream Pie look. I wanted the juice to drip off the cake and give it a little extra sweet strawberry flavor. 
You can use fresh strawberries (or other fresh berries you want) but I definitely recommend mixing it with a little sugar to get the juices out. 
I don’t recommend buying a strawberry topping or strawberry jam to put on top of the cake. They’re much sweeter and a little more artificial tasting and just wouldn’t do the cake justice. 

Can I use a different frosting?

You can certainly use a different type of frosting. I went with cream cheese because it’s so light, creamy and fluffy and a little tangy which pairs perfectly with strawberries. 
If you want to make a french buttercream, it’ll be much richer and less sweet, but you’ll be able to use up most of the egg yolks. 

Can I just use your classic vanilla cake?

You certainly can! I made this cake with a white cake that uses only egg whites and cake flour because I wanted it super light and fluffy. They are almost the same recipe, those are the main changes but my classic vanilla cake is just a tad more dense and rich tasting. 
If you’re interested in learning more about how different ingredients behave in baking, make sure to check out my ebook, The Ingredient Guide

What to do with the leftover egg yolks?

The main reason I don’t prefer to bake cakes with just egg whites is because I don’t want to be left with a ton of egg yolks but once in a while it’s worth it and developed a handful of recipes using just egg yolks simply for this reason.

Here are a few recipes I like to use when I have leftover egg yolks.

  • Egg Yolk Chocolate Chip Cookies – I intentionally developed this recipe as a super quick and easy way to use up leftover egg yolks. You can freeze the cookie dough unbaked or freeze the cookies after baking too.
  • French buttercream – I just make it and put it in the freezer until I need it for another cake or cupcakes (I currently have a batch in the freezer right now lol). 
  • Pastry Cream – I developed this recipe to accommodate egg yolks or whole eggs so feel free to just use egg yolks. I use pastry cream to make Diplomat Cream and Creme Mousseline as well, if you don’t quite want just pastry cream. The creme mousseline is nice because you can freeze it and defrost it months later when you need it to frost a cake. I wouldn’t do that with plain pastry cream or Diplomat Cream though.
  • My Brioche Donuts and the Bavarian Cream I used to fill them both use egg yolks.
  • I’ve also replaced the egg in my Brioche Cinnamon Roll Dough with three egg yolks and it turned out FANTASTIC.
  • Vanilla Cream Slice also use egg yolks so any of these would be a great option.
  • Double batch of Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies and Double Chocolate Cookies (store cookie dough balls in the freezer until ready to bake!). 
  • One batch of my pistachio cookies can be made with three egg yolks instead of 1 large egg!
  • Two Momma’s Rustic Apple Pies – gift the second one or freeze the pie dough and use for later! 
  • Egg wash – you can dilute egg yolks with a little milk to make an egg wash if you need it for any pie.

How to store this strawberry vanilla cake

Since this cake uses cream cheese frosting, it should be stored in the refrigerator but it’s best served just slightly chilled or at room temperature. Keep it covered so it doesn’t ‘taste like the fridge’ (idk if that’s a thing or if it’s just me lol). 

I like to top it with strawberries right before serving but it works fine if you top the whole thing with strawberries and refrigerate it. If you save the strawberries for later, make sure to keep those refrigerated as well. The cake and the strawberries are good for about a week in the fridge, after a few days, the cake gets a little more dry though. 

If it’s longer than a few days, place the cake in an airtight container and then place the container in a freezer bag, squeezing out all the excess air. Freeze for 1-2 months with or without the strawberry topping. The strawberries wouldn’t go bad in the freezer but they’ll likely be pretty soggy once they defrost.

Thanks so much for reading today’s post, if you have any questions just comment down below. Make sure to leave it in the comment section because I can’t answer in the rating section :).

If you make this strawberry vanilla cake, I would love to see it so make sure to tag me @baranbakery on instagram and check out my cookbook, Frosted.

As always, have a blessed day and happy baking!

Love, B

@baranbakery One of my latest faves that I’ve already made like 5 times! This little tease is new on my website! Linked in bio ? #cake #vanilla #strawberry #recipe #baking #baketok #baker #vanillacake #strawberrycake #creamcheesefrosting #frosting #vanillabean ♬ UNDERWATER WONDERSCAPES (MASTER) – Frederic Bernard
strawberry vanilla cake with fresh strawberries

Strawberry Vanilla Cake Recipe

Bernice Baran
Gorgeous new white and fluffy vanilla cake, topped with cream cheese frosting and a super easy to make fresh strawberry sauce.
4.66 from 41 votes
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 5 minutes
Course Sheet Cakes
Cuisine American
Servings 24 small slices
Calories 383 kcal

Ingredients
  

White Vanilla Cake

  • 2 1/4 cup (270g) cake flour spooned and leveled
  • 1 Tbsp (10g) baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (113g/1 stick/4oz) unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (59mL) vegetable oil
  • 5 (160g) large egg whites room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 3/4 cup (170g) sour cream
  • 3/4 cup (177mL/6oz) heavy whipping cream room temperature

Fresh Strawberry Topping

  • 1 lb strawberries hulled and diced
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice + zest of 1 lemon *optional

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz (1 block) cream cheese room temperature
  • 1 cup (2 sticks/8oz) unsalted butter room temperature
  • 4 cups (480g) powdered sugar spooned and leveled
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • tiny pinch of salt

Instructions
 

Vanilla Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F (163C) convection (300F/149C conventional) and grease and line a 9x13x2" cake pan with baking spray and parchment paper. 
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt until they're evenly distributed.
    2 1/4 cup (270g) cake flour, 1 Tbsp (10g) baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt
  • Place the room temperature butter and the granulated sugar in a large bowl and use an electric mixer with the whisk attachment to beat them for 2 minutes, scraping the edge of the bowl halfway through. 
    1/2 cup (113g/1 stick/4oz) unsalted butter, 1 1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar
  • Add in the oil and beat for another 1-2 minutes, until it's pale and fluffy. 
    1/4 cup (59mL) vegetable oil
  • Add the egg whites, 1-2 at a time, beating on medium speed between each addition, until each egg is fully incorporated and the batter is fluffy. 
    5 (160g) large egg whites
  • Add the vanilla extract and sour cream and beat just until they're combined.
    2 tsp vanilla extract, 3/4 cup (170g) sour cream
  • Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter, turn the mixer up to low speed and then pour in the cream, followed by the rest of the dry ingredients. 
    3/4 cup (177mL/6oz) heavy whipping cream
  • Spread the cake batter in the prepared cake pan and bake for 40 minutes. 
  • When the cake is fully baked it will release itself from the edge of the pan and it will spring back if you press on the center of it. 
  • Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting. 

Strawberry Topping

  • Wash, hull and dice your strawberries to about the size of a blueberry.
    1 lb strawberries
  • Toss the strawberries with the granulated sugar and lemon juice/zest, if using.
    1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar, 2 Tbsp lemon juice + zest of 1 lemon
  • Let the mixture rest for at least an hour, stirring every 20 minutes or so to make sure the sugar dissolves.

Cream Cheese Frosting 

  • Place the butter in a large bowl and use an electric mixer to beat them at full speed for 2-3 minutes, scraping the edge of the bowl every so often. 
    1 cup (2 sticks/8oz) unsalted butter
  • Add the cream cheese and beat again just until they're combined.
    8 oz (1 block) cream cheese
  • Add in half of the powdered sugar, beat at the lowest speed, just until it's combined, then add the other half of the powdered sugar, vanilla and salt beating at the lowest speed again, just until it's combined.
    4 cups (480g) powdered sugar, 2 tsp vanilla bean paste, tiny pinch of salt
  • Scrape the edge of the bowl and turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and beat for 1 minute, just until it's smooth. 
  • Frost the cooled cake and top with strawberry topping.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 383kcalCarbohydrates: 46gProtein: 3gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.5gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 95mgPotassium: 84mgFiber: 1gSugar: 36gVitamin A: 638IUVitamin C: 11mgCalcium: 30mgIron: 0.2mg
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  1. Just wondering if the 1/4 or 500g of sugar is correct for the strawberries? I used 125g and it seemed adequate. Lovely recipe – thankyou!

  2. Would I be able to make this in two 7-inch round cake tins? If so, should I double the recipe? Or can I use this recipe, but pour it evenly between my two 7-inch rounds? I have been looking for a tender, fluffy white cake recipe and your pictures look exactly like the texture I have been searching for!